CHOOSE A DIFFERENT PATH (PART 1 OF 2)

7 October 2019

  • Road and MTB
  • Inside Orbea

Published by Orbea

In 2020, we'll celebrate our 180th birthday. Nearly two centuries of writing our own history and choosing another path — one that's carved from excitement, originality and passion.

We build gear we're passionate about, bringing exciting and original ideas to every design. Each day at Orbea is a constant search for excellence that forces us to move fast and reinvent ourselves over and over.

Javi Lorenzo (above), Orbea Enduro Team Mechanic, and María Retegi (below), Customer Service Manager.

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We are proud to be a cooperative, which allows us to understand business through a different lens. We are a company where employees are partners. Where we own the company and, most importantly, we own its direction and destination — a key element that defines how we operate.

Orbea is a group organization whose success depends on individual commitment from every member.

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Orbea is managed by our Governing Council, a representative body formed by elected members every four years that steer our cooperative toward social, economic and organizational goals. Members receive a monthly advance based on the cooperative results of the coming tax year, measured by professional and performance benchmarks established for every employee.

Collectively, this organizational structure helps us rally together in solidarity and vision, driving us to have a deeper understanding and relationship with our work, our colleagues, our customers, our dealers and the culture around us.

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE COOPERATIVE

Toward the end of the 1960s, Orbea was struggling to sustain itself. Employees took initiative to purchase the company from the founding family and adopted a cooperative business model that would steer the brand in a pivotal, new direction.

These employees were the visionaries; the people convinced that a different path needed to be taken, that doing the “same” wasn’t working, that the new economies of the 60s required a new way of running a business.

Shifting to a cooperative business came at an unquestionable personal cost to all employees. "It was no longer an economic issue," the founding pioneers point out. “The emotional involvement cut deep and affected all family members. Over the years, many sons and daughters of those founding members took over within the cooperative. In the intimacy of their homes, Orbea was the subject of habitual conversation during dinner. There was a lot at stake”.

Founding members and former employees of Orbea.

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Today, those cooperative values ​​shape our traits: a Basque identity, rooted in our origins and evolving into the future. This november, we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary as a cooperative, and it’s a celebration we hope you’ll join. But more on that later...

 

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, FEET ON THE GROUND

At Orbea, we like to think of ourselves as a giant with our head in the clouds and feet on the ground. We look ahead, explore new horizons and keep our feet firmly on the ground, staying connected to reality and the firm commitments we’ve made to ourselves and our industry.

Jon Gantxegi, Head of Mobility Business at Orbea.

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Orbea stands for social responsibility. We’ve made a promise to build a legacy for generations to come by rooting ourselves in social and business accountability. We do that by generating employment and wealth that are returned to the community in the form of well-being, job opportunities and respect for the environment.

We believe that one of the best ways to give back is by investing in education. That’s why we plunge ourselves into the field of knowledge across all ages. We work with schools to train talented workers and generate quality employment. We partner with innovation companies and tech centers to inspire new designs and create cutting-edge ideas — because we know that we’re stronger and better together.

The search for excellence is a common denominator throughout all our departments.

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We especially invest in younger generations with the Fundación Euskadi, introducing generations of children to the world of cycling through active, student-centered teaching methods. For many, this is their first introduction to cycling. And thanks to the unique style of learning, some of them continue on in the professional realm — racing for Euskaltel-Euskadi and other World Tour teams — while even more have excelled in races around the world.

The Fundación Euskadi is much more than a sports organization; it reflects our commitment to promote cycling from the ground up.

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For us, cycling is more than just work. It’s a way to join forces in support of a cause. We collaborate with people, foundations and NGOs that fight, as we do, for a more inhabitable and inclusive world.

You’ll find that unwavering philosophy throughout Orbea. It’s an ethos that stemmed from a desire long ago to create an equal working environment for everyone — a choice that continues to define our proud differences.

At Orbea, we like to say that we make bicycles for human beings. Not for women, nor for men, but for people of all profiles, regardless of their identity. This is why we make the products we do, why we throw our support into women’s cycling, why we use inclusive language that guides everything from our social media to our hiring policy, and why we have an Equality Plan set in place that preserves and enhances these efforts.

At Orbea, we are a team that enjoys making cyclists of all levels around the world happy.

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We also stand in unison with like-minded businesses. Orbea is one of numerous cooperatives that form the Mondragon Corporation. Between us all, we contribute to a fund that provides financial aid when one of our fellow cooperatives is facing an economic challenge.

And in the event of a hypothetical closure of one of these businesses, our relocation policy allows employees to continue working in another cooperative within our group.

 

FOCUSED ON PEOPLE

Orbea fiercely believes in its values. Cooperation, commitment, teamwork, reinvention, social responsibility, innovation and, above all, consideration towards people are traits forever embedded in our DNA.

Jon Fernández (Managing Director) and Nagore Larrabeiti (Financial Director). Connection with people is one of our core pillars.

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We design products and gear for the pure purpose of happiness: specifically, for the joy you get from connecting deeper with cycling. That’s why we’ve invested more into our communication channels, so we can have a stronger relationship with you, listen to your feedback and become more in tune with your needs and wants. And it’s what has led us to optimizing MyO and becoming world leaders in bike customization.

Our MyO tool offers a personalized and avant-garde user experience.

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Sure, we could have taken a different path to get here. We could have shaped our business and our relationships in different ways. But our partners and collaborators from both outside and within Orbea have come to expect this high level of personalization.

Dealers and distributors respect our easy-to-work-with approach not just because it’s expected, but because it’s key for igniting the passion for cycling around the world. And together, we form a well-synched team that faces the challenges of a constantly evolving industry as a unified front.

The impossible doesn't exist: it is only the starting point on the path to a new discovery.

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Back at home, a visit to the Mallabia factory means appreciating the work and dedication of people who are proud to be a part of the cooperative. These are the heirs of those who risked everything a half century ago and those who wholeheartedly believed that choosing a different path was the only way to create a better future.

In the next chapter, we’ll share stories from their experiences. But that’s for another time...

 

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